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Gardening Articles, Tips and How-tos - Dave's Garden

Welcome to our library of articles, where you can search and browse over 2,000 articles written by our own team of garden writers. Interested in becoming a Dave's Garden writer? Submit an article to apply.

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Perennial Flowers Herbs and Herbalism Vines Spring Gardening
Annual Flowers Cactus and Succulents Invasives and Weeds Summer Gardening
Ornamental Trees and Shrubs Fruits and Berries Wildlife Fall Gardening
Tropical Plants Houseplants Gardening Tips Winter Gardening

Friday, December 6, 2013

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Creating a Windowsill Herb Garden
By Tricia Drevets (tdrevets)

If you enjoy cooking – and eating – you know the remarkable difference between using fresh herbs and dried herbs in your food. Fresh herbs give your food more flavor, wonderful aroma and added complexity. Growing your own herbs in a windowsill garden is a great way to keep that freshness in your cooking all year round.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Happy Holidays
By Shari Scott (Islandshari)

I have recently returned from a rather hectic and travel-filled vacation, during which I visited three different states, 8 different cities, and an endless variety of nationalities, languages, dialects and accents. America is nothing if not diverse. We have been advised that saying "Merry Christmas" is no longer politically correct, that we should say "Happy Holidays" instead. Okay, let's look at that

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Read more articles about:  holiday celebrations
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Vanilla Sugar: DIY for an Easy and Elegant Gift
By Jill M. Nicolaus (critterologist)

Need a nice but use-up-able gift for teachers and grandparents? Want a project for the kids that will make the house smell wonderful? You're going to love making your own vanilla sugar.

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Read more articles about:  DIY recipe kid crafts

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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Victorian Veltheimia
By Audrey Stallsmith (Audrey)

At first glance, veltheimia is one of those flowers that might be called more interesting-looking than beautiful. But, hey, any blooms that appear during the winter seem spectacular to me! And, as you can confirm from Kelley's photos below, veltheimia flowers are truly exquisite close-up. They were popular parlor plants during the Victorian era, when parlors were on the chilly side.

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Read more articles about:  Veltheimia bracteata Veltheimia capensis cape lily forest lily sand lily sand onion bush lily winter red hot poker
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We're Easy! Gift Ideas for Gardeners
By Donna Trieger (DTrieger)

We gardeners are an easy bunch to make and buy gifts for in any price range, from decorative to practical items.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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A December Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

For gardeners in warmer zones, the month of December offers an opportunity to grow cool season annuals and vegetables. Those in more northern areas must content themselves with end-of-the-year chores as they make sure their borders and beds are ready for winter. Indoor gardeners everywhere enjoy amaryllis and other bulbs prepared for forcing, as well as holiday houseplant favorites such as poinsettia, Norfolk Island pine and Christmas cactus.

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Read more articles about:  folklore and legends winter gardening nature almanacs
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Entrenched Nursery Identification Errors: Araucaria heterophylla
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Sometimes I see errors in identification, not just here, but all over the place on the web, in botanical gardens, nurseries, private gardens (including my garden) etc. Misidentified plants are just part of life, and I have been guiltier than many in making these errors. But I have also done my part in trying to correct some of these errors, or at least alerting others to their mistakes (as they often do for me) as tactfully as possible. But some errors are so entrenched in our gardening culture that efforts made to correct these errors often either go unnoticed or are completely ignored as ravings from a madman (that would be me, for example). This article and perhaps a few more are focused on such an error as an example of what I mean.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

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In The Natural Dye Pot
By Amber Royer (dandylyon85)

Before 1856 (the year synthetics were successfully created), all dyes came from natural sources - mostly botanicals. I wanted to examine the history of dyeing more closely, so I researched the herbs and other plants most closely associated with dyeing.

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Read more articles about:  Tutorial dying natural dye herbs vegetables annato beet henna safflower turmeric onion
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5 Uses for Vintage Garden Tools
By Shalina Luna (Shalina)

All too often we begin cleaning out the garage by throwing out rusty old garden tools, however there are many creative uses that take just a little imagination to completely transform your home or garden.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

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Succulents: What's Blooming in the Yard Now? December Edition
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is about what is blooming in December in the succulent garden, from a Southern California point of view.

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Read more articles about:  cactus and succulents winter gardening
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Garden Jokes and Humor: Dave's Garden Sunday Funnies
By Melody Rose (melody)

Gardeners have a keen sense of humor and we know that you'll enjoy adding your family-friendly quote or description to the image. We'll supply the picture and everyone can post their funniest title. We can't wait to see what you come up wit

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Read more articles about:  garden humor sunday funnies

Saturday, November 30, 2013

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Crafting With Pine Cones, Nature's Perfect Ornament!
By Karen Jones (karri_sue)

Look in any magazine or craft book at Christmas time and you'll find pine cones tucked into most any decor. You'll find them worked into wreaths and garlands, in a centerpiece, potpourri, hanging as an ornament on the tree or scented and placed in a basket.

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Read more articles about:  garden crafts pinecones Christmas bird feeders
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Ask-a-Gardener: Your Gardening Questions Answered
By Melody Rose (melody)

Gardening is both art and science, with some luck and skill thrown in for good measure. A big part of what attracts people to Dave's Garden has always been our forums, where gardeners ask and answer questions for one another. Occasionally we come across a question that we find particularly interesting or intriguing. We hope you find these questions (and answers, penned by our admins and writers) helpful as you grow your gardening knowledge!

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Friday, November 29, 2013

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Frost Heave: Preparing for Winter
By Toni Leland (tonileland)

With record snow dumped on many parts of the country already this year, those of us in the northern portions of the United States can all be assured that Old Man Winter is on his way. Being prepared for freezing temperatures will help your garden survive damage from the cold and a frequent affliction in late fall and early winter: frost heave.

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Read more articles about:  winter gardening weather and storms perennial flowers ornamental trees and shrubs hardiness zones
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Eggnog, a Holiday Tradition
By Paul Rodman (paulgrow)

You either love it or hate it. Some like it plain; some like it spiked with alcohol. Some like it in ice cream. I happen to be one that loves it and am sorry that it is only available for a few months each year. Here's the story on eggnog: the history, the ingredients, and some great recipes.

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Read more articles about:  Egg Nog

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Sage and its Uses, Then and Now
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Sage was an important part of my childhood experiences, but I had little appreciation that it was used for anything other than seasoning sausages and hogshead cheese. Today I grow it in my herb garden and use often. As a matter of fact, sage is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries, not only for seasoning, but for its medicinal properties, as well.

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Read more articles about:  herbs cooking sage Salvias
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Rethinking a Houseplant Collection
By Timmy Jo Given (timmijo)

As a longtime lover of houseplants, it lately occurs to me to carefully consider space and time limitations so that my life is balanced between daily responsibilities and caring for my all-time favorites.

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Read more articles about:  houseplants

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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The first "Thanksgiving:" what went wrong and what went right
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

The fourth Thursday in November (or second Monday in October, if you're in Canada) is our North American holiday of Thanksgiving. But the first "thanksgiving" that the Pilgrims celebrated in 1621 was not at all like our 21st century Thanksgiving. You may have heard that before, but exactly how did it differ?

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Read more articles about:  history folklore and legends north american native plants garden history holiday celebrations pumpkins squash corn beans Thanksgving
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Best Low-Maintenance Foliage Plants for Limited Indoor Space
By April Dowling (ADowling)

Houseplants bring the beauty of nature inside your home, regardless of where you live. They brighten up your space, adding an earthy, calming aura that complements any home decor. Houseplants also purify the air in your home and, according to researchers at Kansas State University, can even improve your health. There are many different kinds of houseplants, all of which vary in size and maintenance requirements. If you reside in a compact living space, such as a dorm room or small apartment, you'll probably want houseplants that don't consume precious living space. It might be wise to consider a low-maintenance houseplant, as well, if you don't care to constantly attend to the demands of a houseplant. The foliage plants featured below are ideal for limited indoor spaces and don't require regular maintenance.

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Read more articles about:  houseplants. foliage plants

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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Aunt Bett, Porky, and Lye Soap
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Fall was a wonderful time. I loved the changing colors of the mountains as the trees got ready for winter. I loved the smell of wood smoke as it floated above my head. I loved the crackle of the dried leaves as I wandered around the mountains. I loved my birthday which always came just before Thanksgiving. But I did not love the day after Thanksgiving.

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Read more articles about:  fall gardening farm life Aunt Bett stories
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Pumpkin Pie for Your Thanksgiving
By Adina Dosan (adinamiti)

Any occasion is good for baking a pumpkin pie, but Thanksgiving is the best. Even if it's not a holiday of my country, it has somehow become mine too, ever since I joined Dave's Garden. I'm celebrating Thanksgiving with my American friends by baking a pumpkin pie in their honor.

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Read more articles about:  Thanksgiving pumpkin pies recipes

Monday, November 25, 2013

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Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Tradition
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Many of America's Thanksgiving holiday traditions are rooted in colonial and post-colonial New England. The state of New York was the first to officially declare an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and by the mid-19th century, other states had begun adopting the practice.

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Read more articles about:  thanksgiving holiday celebrations garden history
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How to Get the Most Out of Your Landscape Equipment
By Bonnie Grant (BGrant)

Gardening tools provide crucial help for day-to-day projects and larger tasks. Maintaining and caring for garden tools helps keep them in tip top shape so they are ready for years of use. Simple tool care includes sharpening, oiling, cleaning, and occasionally sanding wooden handles. The first step is preventative care by storing them carefully and keeping tools free of dirt and moisture. Fall is the perfect time to look at how you store tools and what their needs are to get them ready for spring use.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

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Edible Landscaping: Sweet and Savory Sages
By Jill M. Nicolaus (critterologist)

If the word sage brings to mind only Zane Grey novels or Thanksgiving dressing, read on!

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Read more articles about:  edible landscaping herbs cooking sage Salvia
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Garden Jokes and Humor: Dave's Garden Sunday Funnies
By Melody Rose (melody)

Gardeners have a keen sense of humor and we know that you'll enjoy adding your family-friendly quote or description to the image. We'll supply the picture and everyone can post their funniest title. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

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Read more articles about:  garden humor sunday funnies

Saturday, November 23, 2013

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Native Gifts
By Mitch Fitzgerald (MitchF)

Today in the gardens and on our tables are a wealth of foods - all native to these lands in their roots. This is a short look at the plants that came from the Americas.

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Read more articles about:  fruits and berries vegetable gardening North American native plants heirloom plants pumpkins corn tomatoes Dahlias
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Dave's Garden Book Review: How to Know the Ferns
By Melody Rose (melody)

Gardeners love books, as the number of titles devoted to the subject attest. We hope this spotlight on some of our members' favorites is a nice change of pace for your Saturday morning.

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Read more articles about:  book reviews field guides ferns

Friday, November 22, 2013

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Untamed Tiger Lotus
By Audrey Stallsmith (Audrey)

Years ago I purchased some bulbs of an aquarium plant from a department store. After sticking them in the gravel at the bottom of my then very bare-looking goldfish tank, I waited. . .and waited. . .and waited. . . Those bulbs never did sprout. I'm not sure whether they eventually rotted or whether my two fish ate them. They eat about everything else in there!

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Read more articles about:  Tiger lotus aquarium plant Nymphaea lotus Nymphaea zenkeri Nymphaea maculata
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Growing and Harvesting Peanuts
By Damian Fagan (D_Fagan)

Most commercial peanut growing farms in the U.S. are located in the South and Southwest, but home gardeners across the U.S. may be able to grow peanuts in their backyards.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

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Parsnips: Carrot's Lesser Known Cousin Takes Center Stage During Autumn and Winter
By Elizabeth MacInerney (shearson)

When I was five years old I staged my first protest against food. I wanted no part of the pale, boiled, steaming heap of vegetables that my Mother told me was"really good for me!" Like her mother before her; my mother was doing what all good Irish moms do...serving up boiled parsnip to accompany the Sunday roast. I didn't know then what I know now-parsnips are not only delicious and very nutritious; they have a rich history of cultivation and were an important mainstay on dinner tables throughout Europe as early as the 16th century.

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Read more articles about:  vegetable gardening cooking root vegetables parsnips carrots cool season plants
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Le cirque de Mafate revisited
By Jean-Jacques Segalen (jjacques)

I took you on a tour to Mafate four years ago and as you enjoyed it a lot and I had promised we would go back, here we are again on the trails and paths of Reunion.

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Read more articles about:  Reunion island mafate cirque de mafate hiking tropical landscape

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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Spices From Around The World: Nutmeg
By Paul Rodman (paulgrow)

This is the first of a series of articles about different spices from around the globe. Well learn about their history, origin and how they are used. I thought I knew a lot about spices until I began to research this article. Come and learn with me all about spices, and today, nutmeg.

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Read more articles about:  spices nutmeg
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Fun New Tools for the Gardener on Your Holiday Gift List
By Tricia Drevets (tdrevets)

Do you have a few favorite gardeners on your holiday gift list? Its always a challenge to find the right gift that is both fun and practical, yet not something he or she already has.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Making Sauerkraut
By Gloria Cole (gloria125)

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. In many traditional households making sauerkraut to preserve a surplus cabbage crop was an autumn ritual involving the whole family. Here I will explore how to make sauerkraut and the health benefits of eating it.

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Read more articles about:  vegetable gardening cooking brassicas cool season plants cabbages
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Hard cider- an easy homegrown brew
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

For most of my American lifetime, the term cider meant "a fresh apple drink you buy in fall as an homage to harvest." In other times and places, cider has always meant "an apple drink which ferments, with or without human help, into a tangy alcoholic beverage and agricultural commodity." Now cider, or what I always called "hard cider," comes in twelve ounce bottles, on the racks between beer and wine. Cider is surging in popularity in America these days, filling a niche between beer (too frat-boy) and wine (too frou-frou.) And home brewed cider is about as easy to "grow" as anything in your garden.

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Read more articles about:  Fall Gardening Recipes Canning and Preserving Foods Apples

Monday, November 18, 2013

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Preserving Pears
By Amber Royer (dandylyon85)

Humans arent the only ones who think pears are delicious, so when the fruits start to come ripe, you may have to pick them all at once to stay ahead of the birds and the squirrels. But the wonderful thing about pears is the way they can take on so many different flavor profiles, making them equally likely candidates for a sweet preserve or a spicy chutney. Here are my three favorite ways to preserve them.

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Read more articles about:  Pears Preserving Home Canning Winter Fruit Tutorial
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Interior Foliage Plants - Winter Management and Care
By Bonnie Grant (BGrant)

House plants bring a wonderful soft focus to the home interior. However, many of the species commonly found for the home need special care to thrive in the varying seasonal conditions of the indoors. For one thing these plants are often tropical in origin and need an environment that mimics this. During the spring and summer these conditions are easier to copy due to higher light levels and naturally warmer temperatures, but foliage houseplants need a little tender loving care in winter to protect them from cooler, dimmer indoor conditions. Exact care will vary on species and zone of origin but some basic tips will help your foliage plants thrive and prepare them for the spring growing season.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

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Thanksgiving Cactus
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

All these years I thought I was growing Christmas cactus. Research into the holiday cacti has revealed that I was growing Thanksgiving cactus all along. Distinguishing between the two is easy if you know what to look for.

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Read more articles about:  cactus and succulents indoor gardening houseplants Schlumbergera
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Garden Jokes and Humor: Dave's Garden Sunday Funnies
By Melody Rose (melody)

Gardeners have a keen sense of humor and we know that you'll enjoy adding your family-friendly quote or description to the image. We'll supply the picture and everyone can post their funniest title. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

Continue reading »

Read more articles about:  garden humor sunday funnies

Saturday, November 16, 2013

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Cempaschil, The Marigold and Day of the Dead
By Mitch Fitzgerald (MitchF)

Of all the flowers to come from the Aztec world, this one is by far the most planted and cared for today. Once used in the major ceremonies to honor those departed, this flower now can be found in front of homes all over the world. Now you too can know the secrets of the cempaschil, the marigold.

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Read more articles about:  annual flowers marigolds Tagetes Aztecs

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